Carlisle rival Hartlepool in hunt for veteran Morrison

Clinton Morrison, in his Sheffield Wednesday days
Clinton Morrison, in his Sheffield Wednesday days
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HARTLEPOOL United are facing competition from fellow League Two strugglers Carlisle for the signature of experienced former Premier League striker Clinton Morrison.

The 35-year-old is one of two free agents to train with Pools this week, the other being former Sunderland reserve-team striker Jordan Laidler, 19, who was released in the summer and has been playing for West Auckland in the Northern League.

Both have spent time at Pools’ Maiden Castle training base in Durham, but no deals have yet been sealed.

Carlisle, who visit Victoria Park for a crucial bottom-of-the-table showdown tomorrow are also tracking Morrison, who won Republic of Ireland caps on the back of his work at the likes of Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Coventry and Sheffield Wednesday.

He has played for Colchester for the past two seasons – scoring just four goals – but is a free agent.

He trained with Pools on Tuesday and Pools boss Colin Cooper was hoping to have him back in training today.

Cooper is desperate to bolster his striking options, with his goal-shy side managing just five league goals this term.

“Clinton was not in Thursday as he had a family commitment, but he was in Tuesday and liked what he saw,” Cooper said.

“He is keen to try and do something.

“It is not very often that people like Clinton Morrison are out of contract. I am interested and he showed a great enthusiasm and will when he was here.

“Clinton is a good guy and still wants to win, which I like, and if something can be done and we can do it before the weekend then great.

“We’ll see where we are.”

On Laidler, who had a loan stint at Conference club Chester last season, Cooper added: “I saw Jordan play a lot last year and he was always one I was keen to have a look at.

“I know Jordan has been playing for West Auckland to – in his own words – keep himself fit and ticking over.

“I think he could score goals in League Two if he has that real drive and he tells me he does. He certainly has the technical ability, the pace and the power.

“I am keen to keep him here to take a closer look and try and get him in a competitive fixture.”

Cooper added: “It is a massive leap from the Northern League, but Jordan has only been out of it (the senior game) for three or four months.

“Jordan is someone I’d seen play for the Under-21s at Sunderland and he played in a slightly deeper role because of numbers and his willingness.

“Sometimes a striker can turn into a Number 10 and then into a midfield player, but I have I said to him, I don’t want a midfielder I want someone who can score goals.

“I saw him play for West Auckland in a deep lying midfield position. That isn’t what I want, but he tells me he is still hungry to score.

“We will see, but as a lad I like him and the bit we did on Tuesday he looked quite sharp. The downside is he is not training every day.”